Search for Great War medal owner

WW1 medals found in a bin in Colchester. Credit: ITV Anglia

A man from Colchester is hoping to reunite two World War One medals with their rightful owner, after his father discovered them in a bin. 40 years ago the medals were found by Dan Humphries' father in a house clearance at Wivenhoe in Essex, thrown away as rubbish. He has recently handed them over to Dan, who lives in Colchester, in the hope he will be able to trace the soldier's family.

"They've been lost for 40 years and as we move to the 100 year anniversary of WW1 I just think they would have huge sentimental value for someone. There might be, grandchildren, great grandchildren, there must be someone out there who knows this individual. Also for myself, for research, I want to know more about him, find out what happened and return them to his family." Dan Humphries - trying to trace WW1 medal owner.

So far, Dan has only been able to find out that the medals were awarded to Private Thomas C Dempster. Private Dempster's military number was D8948 which indicates he was a member of the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales) Dragoon Guards, a cavalry regiment in the British Army. He went to fight for the allied forces in France in 1916 and returned three years later in 1919 uninjured, to be awarded both the Allied Victory medal and the British War medal.

One of the biggest difficulties with tracing WW1 veterans is that around 60% of army service records were destroyed in 1940 when a WW2 bomb hit the record office in London. The remainder suffered badly from fire and water damage, wiping out the military history of nearly three million WW1 soldiers.

If you think you may be able to help Dan in his search for the family of Private Thomas C Dempster, please email

Here's Hannah Pettifer's report.